Numerical and experimental analysis of the sedimentation of spherical colloidal suspensions under centrifugal force


Understanding the sedimentation behaviour of colloidal suspensions is crucial in determining their stability. Since sedimentation rates are often very slow, centrifugation is used to expedite sedimentation experiments. The effect of centrifugal acceleration on sedimentation behaviour is not fully understood. Furthermore, in sedimentation models, interparticle interactions are usually omitted by using the hard-sphere assumption. This work proposes a one-dimensional model for sedimentation using an effective maximum volume fraction, with an extension for sedimentation under centrifugal force. A numerical implementation of the model using an adaptive finite difference solver is described. Experiments with silica suspensions are carried out using an analytical centrifuge. The model is shown to be a good fit with experimental data for 480 nm spherical silica, with the effects of centrifugation at 705 rpm studied. A conversion of data to Earth gravity conditions is proposed, which is shown to recover Earth gravity sedimentation rates well. This work suggests that the effective maximum volume fraction accurately captures interparticle interactions and provides insights into the effect of centrifugation on sedimentation.

Phys. Fluids